If you’re a Boston Bruins fan, Thursday’s 2-1 loss to the St. Louis Blues in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final has to be one of the most frustrating losses in recent memory for a multitude of reasons.
First there’s the most obvious factor: It was a huge game that they were on the wrong end of. Boston now has to go into St. Louis and win Game 6 just to have a shot at a winner-takes-all Game 7. That’s not an impossible task and for the Bruins. In fact, this is familiar territory. They battled back in Round 1 after losing an equally critical Game 5 against Toronto 2-1. Still, it’s not a situation they’re happy to find themselves back in.
The difficulty with accepting this loss goes far beyond the stakes though. First there was the no-goal call against Boston midway through the third period that would have tied the game at 1-1. There was a battle for the puck in the crease that eventually beat Blues goaltender Jordan Binnington, but after a video review it was determined that the play had already been called dead. It was a tough pill for the Bruins to swallow, but it wasn’t the call that most will remember from this game.
That call - or more accurately lack of call - came just a handful of minutes later. Tyler Bozak tripped Noel Acciari in the Bruins’ zone, which looked like a penalty. However, none was called and that play led to David Perron scoring what became the game-winning goal.
Despite those third period controversies though, the Bruins weren’t blameless in this loss. They had their chances and failed to capitalize. In particular, Boston’s typically effective power play was 0-for-3 in Game 5. On the other end, St. Louis only got one power-play opportunity.
It wasn’t until 13:32 minutes into the third period that Jake DeBrusk finally got the Bruins on the board. Boston ended up out shooting St. Louis 39-21 in this one. There was some turtling on the part of the Blues, but that lopsided shot total can’t be fully attributed to the fact that the Blues were playing with the lead. Boston outshot St. Louis 17-8 in the first period and the game was still tied going into the first intermission. Certainly Binnington deserves full marks for holding the fort, but the Bruins still need to do more in order to win this series.
Controversial game-winners is nothing new either. Just ask the St. Louis Blues, who lost Game 3 of the Western Conference Final due to an overtime goal that was scored on a missed hand pass. That was a frustrating way to lose, but the Blues looked past it and advanced to the Stanley Cup Final by winning their next three games.
Boston is certainly are capable of following in the Blues’ footsteps in that regard. Boston has shown before that they can beat Binnington. Now though, the Bruins’ margin for error is gone.
Blues-Bruins Game 6 is Sunday night at 8 p.m. ET from Enterprise Center on NBC and the NBC Sports app.